Schoolhouse Rock! (Special 30th Anniversary Edition)
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Schoolhouse Rock!, the timeless collection of animated songs that taught an entire generation that "knowledge is power" is on DVD for in this Ultimate Collector's Edition 2-disc set. Now every day can feel like Saturday morning as you sing along with "I'm Just A Bill," "Three Is A Magic Number," "Interjections!" and the rest of your favorite tunes. Featuring an additional catchy animated song by the original series' creators, the 30th Anniversary Edition DVD rocks your house.
It's a good bet that any American kid growing up in the '70s or '80s learned some elementary lesson from the seminal musical series Schoolhouse Rock!. Airing from 1973 to 1984 (and often revived), the ABC Saturday morning shorts effortlessly introduced kids to grammar, science, multiplication, money, and American history--three minutes at a time. In one smart, comprehensive 2-disc set, all 46 songs and plenty of extras are collected. The four creators developed the series slowly, a welcome diversion from their advertising agency jobs, and ended up taking home four Emmys over the years. The background material includes 10 audio commentaries and a making-of feature for the new song, "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College." The DVD subtitle option is a great bonus for those who need to know every word from such favorites as "Three Is a Magic Number," "Interjections," "I'm Just a Bill," and "Conjunction Junction." (Ages 3 and older) --Doug Thomas
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Great American Melting-pot
No More Kings
The Shot Heard 'Round the World
The Preamble to the Constitution
I'm just a Bill (my personal favorite)
special bonus: Electoral College
Rufus Xavier Sasparilla (pronouns)
Unpack your Adjectives
A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing
Interjections! (my other favorite)
Lolly Lolly Lolly (adverbs)
Them not-so-dry bones
Math Rock and Money Rock:
Naughty Number 9
Dollars and Sense
Elementary, my dear
Here I come (counting by 5s)
My Hero Zero
Three is a magic number
This is unimpeachable stuff. To say that this 2-disc set is definitive is to do injustice to the word "definitive." EVERYTHING you would ever want to know about Schoolhouse Rock is here. All forty-six cartoons ever done for the series are included, even the "Scooter Computer and Mr. Chips" series that looked at computers. The electoral college toon that was done later is part of this collection, too.
The extras on the second disc are outstanding. In addition to Scooter Computer and the rarely seen "The Weather Show," you get a behind the scenes look at the electoral college song, a Top 20 countdown of the best in the series, a puzzle game that features the songs, four music videos of the songs arranged by contemporary pop/rock groups, a feature on the Emmy Awards won by the series, commentary by the creators, and more.
The navigation design of the DVD is superb. Only want to see the "Multiplication Rock" or "America Rock" toons? You can select the specific series you want, play all within a series, or pick each specific toon from a series. You can also choose to play all forty-six toons or just the ones chosen by fans as the top ones. There's a built-in shuffle feature as well. Every DVD should be this easy to navigate and use.
Even the booklet that comes with this edition is helpful. The lyrics for the top ten toons are included as is the history of Schoolhouse Rock. A chapter breakdown is included at the end of the booklet.
Schoolhouse Rock is virtually impervious to review due to its unbiquitous nature within a whole generation or two of Americans. The cleverness of the animation enlivens the topic discussed, not to mention holding the attention of young children. The songs are exceptionally catchy; I'm still amazed at how they managed to do such a great job marrying the Preamble of the Constitution with a hummable melody. Definitely a reflection of the musical styles of the day, songs like "Verb: That's What's Happening" (done in the style of the soundtrack of "Shaft") or "The Preamble" (70s Folk/Rock) capture the era perfectly. It makes those of us who grew up in those days misty-eyed for a return of that AM radio sound to today's music.
If you have kids (or are just nostalgic at heart), this DVD is essential. I'm using it as homeschool material for our kids. When my son sings the songs, it's great to know another generation will appreciate the merits of Schoolhouse Rock. No question, this 30th anniversary edition of Schoolhouse Rock is truly worthy of five stars.
Schoolhouse Rock presents Multiplication, Grammar, American History, and Science and Computers in all it's emmy-winning glory. The music -- rock, jazz, bluegrass and country -- are masterfully produced and yes, danceable. The cartoons are hip, funny, well-crafted and support the curriculum well. It's education with attitude.
Here's the best part: it is fun! Give your children the remote and let them repeat their favorites over and over again. Before you know it, they'll have a brain packed full of good stuff. I can't tell you how many grammar quizzes I passed by remembering the lyrics "Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here," "then I unpacked my adjectives," and "a noun is a person place or thing." Many of my friends hummed the tune of "the preamble" to the constitution during history exams.
There is only one drawback -- some of the songs use improper English like "ain't." There is a jukebox feature on each component which allows you to select which tracks to play, so you can omit those if you like.
I'd also recommend the CD Box Set or the individual CDs to reinforce the material, but not in place of the DVD.
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